I rarely regret going to my favorite bar, Beer Authority in NYC. I usually go once or twice a week. It’s a place where everyone knows your name, and when I walk in, Tony the bartender pours my Bell’s Two Hearted Ale without asking. When I bring friends, they are impressed that I sit down and my beer appears, silently. I have seen Tony remember what someone was drinking who only came once a couple of months before. It’s a kind of a parlor trick, good for business, and a sign of a great bartender. I don’t drink cocktails, but Tony keeps martini glasses full of ice chilled and ready. I say he’s not just a bartender, he’s a chemist. Tell him if you like your drink sweet or sour or pungent or salty, and your favorite liquor, and he will make something you’ve never had before, always met with approval. He won’t shake gin because that bruises the fruit in it. He’s a compleat bartender. He doesn’t sneer when you order Fireball either, the customer’s always right.
I go to the intimate cash-only bar downstairs, with 10 taps, about 10 stools, a few more along the wall, and just one four seat table. The 2nd floor has 80 more beers on tap, but it’s much larger, noisy and impersonal. The rooftop is nice, weather permitting, that’s where I like to have business meetings. I wonder, how many meetings do you have to hold before you can claim a place as an office?
The regulars are a mixed group and I check up on how the cat who had cancer surgery is recovering, or how my friend’s growing building renovation business is doing. It’s a place where you CAN talk about politics and religion, as long as you’re not belligerent.
Since Beer Authority is in the Times Square hotel district, travelers wander in too. Often they are surprised to find an intimate traditional bar in the midst of the neighborhood’s chains, upscale joints, and tourist traps. I get to talk, really talk, with people from across the USA and around the world. Often they are just as interested to talk to a “regular” life long New Yorker.
Sometimes I stop for only a beer or two, I start talking with people, and the next thing I know it’s last call. I rarely have a hangover, I pace myself, and the food is excellent too. You have to remember to eat when you’re drinking. Often we share the Italian-style thin crust pizza or other delicacies among 3 or 4 people.
As a web application architect/developer, I have a lonely job. Most of my day is spent translating logic into code, or finding where the logic is breaking and figuring out how to fix it. Sometimes I feel like my brain is sweating. After a particularly challenging day or week, I can unwind at the bar. It’s effective stress reduction. It’s a time to socialize with people I have known for years.
Last year with the stresses at home of my dying wife, and my dying mother, I went to the bar 3 or 4 days after work, when I didn’t have to rush to the hospital. Is that “drinking too much beer?” It was a welcome respite during a difficult time. I think spending an evening once or twice a week now drinking with friends, when I don’t have other plans, is time well-spent socializing. Other nights I go home home alone to my little white dog, and my 4 cats (I took my mom’s 2 cats after she died). Some of my friends call me “the crazy cat lady.”
I also get an F in writing. I’ve been working on a book about Cross Origin Resource Sharing for a technical publisher for about a year. It’s the hardest thing I ever did, writing 10 chapters, about 150–200 pages, covering code and concepts from the basic HTTP headers, to specific examples for multiple platforms, like NodeJS and related frameworks like AngularJS , Drupal and other CMSs, Cloud platforms, and Windows apps. It takes immense concentration, and I have missed multiple deadlines. My editor discussed adding a co-author, but he likes my style which is hard to keep consistent with more than one writer. I’m almost finished with chapter 7 out of 10, I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel. As soon as I hit the publish button, I’m working on the book. Bang.